Science

Northern Light May 2019: The Northern Lights Will Be Visible Over the U.S. Tonight. Here’s How to Watch Them.

Like the skies over King’s Landing following the entry of Daenerys, there will be stunning (yet altogether less terrifying) lights over parts of the United States this week. The northern lights will make a journey south the morning of May 15, as well as the night of May 16 into the morning of May 17.

The Space Weather Prediction Center has issued geomagnetic storm alerts varying somewhere in the range of G1 and G2levels because of a series of three Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) since May 10 – the impacts of which are foreseen to have the northern lights appearing further south than they are usually seen.

The caution from the SWPC, some part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), was issued alongside the guide above. It demonstrates the area where the aurora could conceivably reach. The guide is somewhat little, yet the green line is the thing that you ought to search for with a G1 alert, while any window with a G2 alert could reach as far south as the yellow line.

The methods you could see the spectacular display in parts of Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Maine. As is often the case, you should also be able to see a very good show in Alaska, which is among the best places in the world for aurora hunters. During a G2 alert, you might also catch a glimpse in Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

the aurora borealis over Michigan’s Mackinac Bridge in mid 2018 after a G1 alert. The northern lights are beautifully present, however this far south, you’re probably not going to locate the splendid strips of colorful lights popping over the sky like you may discover in, Say, Iceland. (For a good example of well-defined streaks of light, check out this “Dragon Aurora” spotted in Iceland.)

How To See the Northern Lights

Per the SWPC’s 3-Day Forecast, the best time to look for northern lights will be through two or three separate windows. The first is 5am to 11am EST on Wednesday, May 15. This could be a not too bad open door further west at the beginning of the window when it is as yet dim outside. The Kp index prior to that window is only slightly lower, so you may even catch a glimpse leading into that time frame. However, as it gets light outside, the display will no longer be visible, rendering the latter portion of the alert useless for anyone hoping to see the aurora.

The second window is from 11am EST on May 16 to 2am on May 17. That whole stretch is under a G1 alert, with the exception of a three-hour window where there’s a G2. Unfortunately, it will be too light out to see the aurora in the US at that time.

To get the best view, you should get a long way from the light pollution of urban focuses. On the off chance that the aurora makes it right to the green line, it’s still impossible you’ll spot it in a major city. Talking about the best conditions for viewing the aurora, a SWPC representative recently told, “You need very clear skies, a good view of the northern horizon (no trees, buildings, or hills), and it needs to be dark.” The view is necessary because, outside of far-north regions, the lights will largely appear on the northern horizon rather than directly overhead.

This is a great opportunity to cross the spectacle off your bucket list. Plus, you’ll get quality outdoor time. That’s good. You’ve been sitting inside a bit too much lately.

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